If you’ve been thinking of visiting Pattaya, consider a road trip. The city in Chonburi Province in the east coast of Thailand is easily accessible by road. Pattaya is on travellers’ itinerary for its beaches, amusement and water parks, sea aquarium, floating market and nightlife.
But the drive there from Bangkok via Chonburi itself is an experience. You traverse the smaller cities and take in views of the countryside with its lush greenery and landscapes.
Suan Lamai (Rayong)
Rayong is also referred to as kingdom of fruit, with good reason. The first stop after Bangkok is the Lamai Sheep Farm. At the Suan Lamai fruit garden, one can enjoy fresh fruits from the displays or pick them directly from the trees. During the season, visitors are welcomed with durian, rambutan, mangosteen, pomelo, rose apple, longan, Zalacca, dragon fruit, langsat, starfruit, sweet yellow Marian plum and grapes. Acres of land are devoted to fruits. The place is surrounded by mountains and natural forests and there is nothing like enjoying a fruit buffet, or if you are there in season, a strawberry fest.
Chanthaburi, about 250 km southeast of Bangkok, takes you back in time by hundreds of years; it’s a city of the Chinese and the Vietnamese. A stroll along the old town next to the Chanthaburi riverfront warms you up to the history of old houses, some which have been converted into riverside restaurants and offer a variety of cuisines. There are Chinese and Buddhist temples, the community culture, tiny shops selling semi-precious stones and jewellery, and antiques. You get some delectable street food in Chanthaburi. Chanthaboon waterfront is the only area with waterfront houses that gives you an experience of local lifestyle in a tranquil setting.
- Pattaya can be visited through the year, though April and May are too warm for comfort.
- Travel by bus or hire a car for the road trip.
At the end of the waterfront community road on the banks of Chanthaburi River stands the tall and magnificent cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. This is the largest church of Thailand, built in 1711.
Ko Samet, Rayong
A day or two is ideal for a halt in Chanthaburi. At a distance of about 120 kms and two-hour drive lies Rayong, known for its fun-filled Ko Samet island. The island is about 200km from Bangkok and is a popular family destination for its sports, coral reefs and cuisine. One can reach Ban Phe and take a 20-minutes ferry to the island. Ko Samet has beautiful beaches. . It’s tourist friendly with accommodations, restaurants, bars and convenience stores. The island also offers PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) scuba diving certificates. October to April is the best time to visit the island when the seas are calm. Some beaches allow camping too..
Ramayana Water Park
En route Rayong to Pattaya is the largest water park in South East Asia called the Ramayana Water Park. The park is just 15 kms from Pattaya and is set amidst lakes, hills and greenery. Ramayana offers 21 water slides and a unique river slide, which ends in the Lazy River.
At the water park one can explore an ancient city with caves, sculptures and other reminders of a long forgotten place. Ramayana offersdedicated areas for children. Then there is a floating market built into the natural lake. The other attractions include a sand play area, a maze (labyrinth), waterfalls and elephants.
Pattaya — the city of fun, food, adventure parks, beaches, theme parks, zoos, underwater aquarium, stage shows, night markets and more is next. .
It is live action, visual effects, cinema and stage performance with water, fire, animals, acrobats, song and dance. The KAAN show unfolds at Singha D’Luck Cinematic Theatre, Pattaya. Immerse yourself into the 75-minute breathtaking performance inspired by Thai literature. KAAN More than 600 creative professionals have spent more than three years in developing the project with nearly two years of rehearsals.
Located on Sukhumvit road, the Pattaya floating market claims to be largest man-made floating market in the world. Covering an area of 100,000 square metres, there are four main areas with architecture and culture from the north, northeast, central and southern Thailand. The market offers a flavour of Thai culture coupled with authentic Thai teak wood architecture. Local eateries, fruit stalls, souvenir shops and art galleries and water vendors selling authentic Thai food create a vibrant environment.
Discover what riverside life is all about while on a boat ride. A walk through the hundreds of wooden houses built in the different styles of the four regions is worth the time. There is also daily cultural performances. This is a good place to get away from the fast life of Pattaya.
Art in paradise
Art in Paradise is the first 3D imaging museum in Thailand. Twelve Koreans created the amazing three-dimensional images and illusions for this museum to keep visitors entertained. It is a perfect place to take quirky photographs.